“In the largest sense, your mind is made up by your brain, body, natural world, and human culture - as well as by the mind itself...The mind and brain interact with each other so profoundly that they’re best understood as a single, co-dependent, mind/brain system.
When your mind changes, your brain changes too. Thus, you can use your mind to change your brain for the better - which will benefit your whole being, and every other person whose life you touch.
More than two thousand years ago, a young man named Siddhartha - not yet enlightened, not yet called the Buddha - spent many years training his mind and thus his brain. On the night of his awakening, he looked deep inside his mind (which reflected and revealed the underlying activities of his brain) and saw there both the causes of suffering and the path to freedom from suffering. Then, for forty years, he wandered northern India, teaching all who would listen how to:
* Cool the fires of greed and hatred to live with integrity
* Steady and concentrate the mind to see through its confusions
* Develop liberating insight
In short, he taught virtue, mindfulness (also called concentration), and wisdom.
These are the three pillars of the Buddhist practice, as well as the wellsprings of everyday well-being, psychological growth, and spiritual realization.
Virtue simply involves regulating your actions, words, and thoughts to create benefits rather than harms for yourself and others.
Mindfulness involves the skillful use of attention to both your inner and outer worlds.
Wisdom is applied common sense, which you acquire in two steps. First, you come to understand what hurts and what helps - in other words, the causes of suffering and the path to its end.Then, based on this understanding, you let go of those things that hurt and strengthen those that help. As a result, over time you’ll feel more connected with everything, more serene about how all things change and end, and more able to meet pleasure and pain without grasping after one and struggling with the other.”
Above extracts from Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson & Richard Mendius
What are we observing and practicing on and off our mat this month?
Compassion for Self and Others
Internalizing the positive
The Great Gayatri Mantra - embodying this compassion through sound....
“We meditate on the glory of the creator, who has created the universe, who is worthy of worship, who is the embodiment of knowledge and light, who is the remover of all ignorance. May he/she enlighten our intellect. Known as the Universal Mantra, as this mantra does not belong to any religion or any country - it belongs to the whole universe. You are representing the whole of humanity when you chant this mantra.”
om bhur bhuvah svah
om tat savitur varenyam
bhargo devasya dhimahi
dhiyo yonah prachodayat